Pujara: India have psychological edge


Cheteshwar Pujara is determined to make India's psychological advantage over South Africa count when the second Test starts in Bangalore on Saturday.

India needed fewer than three days to beat the Proteas by 108 runs in the first Test in Mohali last week and another victory would give them a 2-0 lead in the four-match series.

Pujara made 31 in the first innings and then 77 second time around before Ravindra Jadeja took 5-21 as South Africa were skittled out for only 109 and fell well short in their pursuit of victory.

India will aim to continue where they left off at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium this weekend and Pujara stressed the importance of concentrating on their own game rather than how the top ranked side in Test cricket will respond to their defeat.

"It's a fresh game, but the good thing for us is that we have won the first Test, so psychologically we can say that we have an advantage," he told the Board of Control for Cricket in India website.

"Obviously, we can't take them lightly; they are a good side. What we need to do is stay focused on the things that are needed to win the Test match rather than worrying about what their team might do and what kind of cricket they can play.

"As long as we are focused on the things we want to do, it will allow us to succeed in this Test match."

Pujara marked his recall to the Test side with a century against Sri Lanka in August and the classy batsman always backed himself to return to the highest level.

"If you talk about form, there was never a doubt that I would come back to international cricket because the start that I had was good. I had the confidence. I was back to form," he said.

"All cricketers will have that phase when they are not performing as well as they should.

"But once you start believing in yourself, start working harder on your game and start scoring runs in any game, whether it is domestic or club cricket, you gain the confidence that you can do well."

The tourists suffered a blow on Thursday when Vernon Philander damaged ankle ligaments playing football in training and was ruled out of the rest of the series, with Kyle Abbott replacing him.